Thursday, January 29, 2015

Details: cheapest cars in India

India is still a market where the price of a new car can decide its fate. Our country is still price conscious and this is why manufacturers tend to cut corners to keep costs as low as possible. At the same time though, some cars are really good value for money and give a lot of bang for the buck to a new customer.

Here is our list of the cheapest cars on sale in India today

1. Tata Nano

How much? From Rs 2.04 lakh onwards (ex-showroom Delhi)
Engine? 624cc, petrol
Fuel economy (ARAI rating) : 25.4kmpl

The Nano without a doubt is the cheapest car on sale in India. As per Tata Motor's website, pricing for the Nano starts at Rs 2.04 lakh for the CX version, going upto Rs 2.29 lakh for the LX version. In today's exchange rates, this translates into USD 3300 only. Tell this to a friend in the States and he will be shocked!
That said, at the given price, the Nano comes across as a good deal. Tempting offers from the company and dealers mean that for the 2014 manufactured versions, you can end up enjoying benefits of upto Rs 35000-40000 - that is almost 20% of the ex-showroom price.
The Nano drives and feels sorted when you limit yourself to city limits. Visit a hill station and you will be surprised to see the number of Nanos around - it does make sense in a variety of markets. Tata now offers the Nano with optional CNG kit and power steering too.
All said and done, the Nano remains the cheapest car money can buy in India!

2. Maruti Omni

How much? From Rs 2.39 lakh onwards (ex-showroom Delhi)
Engine? 796cc, petrol
Fuel economy (ARAI rating) : 14.7kmpl

Surprised? Don't be - the Omni remains the second cheapest car you can buy in India. It comes feature stripped, is pretty unsafe and won't do speeds over 100-110km/h but it can still seat 8 people or carry a good 400-500kg of cargo easily.
Short gearing makes it peppy and it can be repaired almost anywhere in India. Yes it doesn't find private buyers these days but in the commercial market it is still a hit. Maruti sells the Omni in different configurations - as a personal vehicle, as a cargo vehicle, as an ambulance, with optional LPG and so on. No, a standard power steering or air-con is still not on the list.

3. Maruti Alto 800

How much? From Rs 2.5 lakh onwards (ex-showroom Delhi)
Engine? 796cc, diesel
Fuel economy (ARAI rating) : 22.74kmpl

The Alto took off from where the original 800 left. The Alto 800 is India's largest selling car (over 22000 units sold on a monthly basis) and there is a reason behind it. It is 20-25% more expensive than the Nano but people still put their faith into this legend - the reason is, the Alto 800 will never die on you. This is a car that will be passed on for generations and will becoming boringly reliable. It is still feature stripped but does what an average customer wants his car to do.
A CNG version is available and Maruti is now offering an optional driver side air-bag too. Kudos!
The tiny 796cc three cylinder engine excels when it comes to both city and highway performance (for this price) and still delivers magical fuel economy figures.

Number 4?

The Hyundai Eon and the Maruti Eeco lock horns for the 4th position in this list of the cheapest cars on sale in India and have an identical starting price of Rs 3.1 lakh. While the Eon is a lovely car for a first time buyer, the Eeco is mainly sold in the commercial market. 

Explained: Cheapest automatic sedans in India

With increasing traffic and decreasing average speeds in most cities, the need and want for automatic cars in India is increasing. For long, automatic cars have been looked down upon due to lack of performance and fuel economy. Further, the high price of such models has also kept prospective customers non-interested.
However, over the past couple of years, things have changed a lot in the Indian car market. Manufacturers have started offering automatic versions of their sedans at relatively lower prices. Here is a quick look at the cheapest automatic sedans in India.

1. Hyundai Xcent Automatic

How much? Rs 6.39 lakh onwards (ex-showroom Delhi)
Engine specs? : 1.2-litre petrol, 84PS, 111Nm
USP? Space, features, overall comfort

This is the cheapest automatic sedan you can buy in India. With prices starting at Rs 6.39 lakh for the S(O) version, the Xcent automatic comes with a 1.2-litre petrol engine that puts out 83 PS of power. The engine is mated to a 4-speed automatic.
The Hyundai Xcent Automatic is a good looking sedan (though the rear leaves a lot to be desired) and comes with best in class interiors. The cabin design is excellent and as is the case with most Hyundai offerings, feature list is impressive. The Xcent also offers good space for five adults.

2. Maruti Dzire Automatic

How much? Rs 6.58 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)
Engine specs? : 1.2-litre petrol, 87PS, 114Nm
USP? Its a Maruti, engine performance

The Dzire has been an all-time hit for Maruti as far as sales are concerned. Its a car you can't go wrong with and thankfully this model also comes with an automatic petrol option. Only available on the mid-level VXi version, it is devoid of features (as compared to say the Xcent) and you only get goodies like standard air-con, front and rear power windows etc. Thankfully Maruti is offering standard ABS on the Dzire Automatic. That said, the engine is a gem of a unit and performs brilliantly - both city and highway performance is adequate.
You also get Maruti's peace of mind factor with the Dzire and this one will hold its re-sale better than others.

3. Honda Amaze Automatic

How much? Rs 6.95 lakh onwards (ex-showroom Delhi)
Engine specs? : 1.2-litre petrol, 88PS, 109Nm
USP? Top end performance, its a 5-speed, space

The Amaze is one of the only two 5-speed automatic cars here. The Xcent, Dzire and Ciaz get a 4-speed automatic gearbox, one less than the Amaze and the Ciaz.
A 5-speed automatic allows the engine to spread its power and torque in a better way. Also, at speeds above 60-70km/h, the gearbox shifts into the 5th gear thereby reducing the engine rpm which translates into better economy.
The petrol engine in the Amaze is also known for its top end performance. It does not have enough juice at low revs but push this motor hard and you will have grinning moments easily. The Amaze also offers remarkable space and an airy cabin.

4. Tata Zest Automatic

How much? Rs 7.24 lakh  (ex-showroom Delhi)
Engine specs? : 1.3-litre diesel, 90PS, 200Nm
USP? The only diesel here, ride quality, space

India's cheapest diesel automatic sedan comes in the form of the Zest. It gets a 5-speed AMT or automated manual transmission and the car is powered by a Fiat sourced 1.3-litre diesel engine. Both power and torque are best in the segment and icing on the cake comes in the form of an ARAI rated economy of 23kmpl.
Come to think of it, the Zest automatic is (almost) in the same price band as cars like the Xcent, Dzire and Amaze and yet offers a diesel engine. The car is feature rich too and offers the best ride quality - well, pretty close to the Ciaz too, a car that costs a lakh and a half more.
The Zest looks nice when viewed from the front but the rear design leaves a lot to be desired. That said, low running costs, impressive space and a long list of features will surely keep impressing prospective customers.

5. Maruti Ciaz Automatic

How much? Rs 8.94 lakh  (ex-showroom Delhi)
Engine specs? : 1.4-litre petrol, 92.5PS, 130Nm
USP? Impressive space, big car feel, interiors

The Ciaz is from a segment above as compared the other four cars discussed here. However, it comes in the top 5 cheapest automatic sedans in India and hence finds a place here.
The Ciaz was launched to replace the SX4 and the model took off to a great start. Infact it replaced the Honda City as the highest selling C segment car in India in October and now remains as the 2nd best selling car in the segment.
The petrol automatic Ciaz comes with a 1.4-litre engine that puts out 92.5 PS of power. Its a silent unit and has adequate performance on tap but what really steals the show here is the amount of space on offer. The Ciaz easily rivals D segment sedans in this regard.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Discounts and offers on the Volkswagen Polo GT TDI start

The Volkswagen Polo GT TDI is the most powerful mass segment diesel hatchback in India. It uses the same 1.6-litre diesel engine as seen in the Vento diesel and at just over Rs 8 lac (ex-showroom), makes for one hell of a buy!
However, at the same time, we all know the market is going through a tough phase and discounts are being offered on everything from a hatchback to a luxury sedan. Volkswagen has been offering benefits on the Polo for a while and now, are doing the same on the new GT TDI as well.
According to the newspaper advertisement, the Polo GT TDI comes with benefits like
- free insurance for 3 years
- free extended warranty for 3 years
- Maintenance for 3 years (at a nominal extra EMI we believe)
- free 24x7 Road side assistance for 3 years.

Alternatively, if a buyers doesnt want to opt for these, he can avail benefits of Rs 25,000 (which might be a cash discount on the ex-showroom price) and exchange bonus of Rs 10,000. Sounds interested? For sure!

Read - Launch report of the GT TDI

Monday, November 04, 2013

Planning to eat at McDonalds? Carry your own ketchup and tissues please!

Planning to head to a nearby McDonalds?

Do remember to carry your own ketchup and tissue papers then!

Being a lazy Monday (and post Diwali weekday), a few of us decided to head to McDonalds for lunch. This one is in Omaxe City Centre, Sohna Road, Gurgaon, India

We ordered for three meals and the total bill came to Rs 486.
Dated: 4th November.
Invoice number: 014101100031472
Crew ID: 37641

The cashier first kept just three sachets of ketchup. I then requested for some chilly ketchup too and he kept 2 more. Thats a total of 5 sachets for 3 meals for a bill of 486.

Needless to say I got a bit bugged and questioned the cashier. He then put one more chilly sachet and we now had 6 sachets for 3 meals - 3 burgers and 3 fries. I demanded more and quick came a reply - sir extra ketchup is chargeable. Yes, that's was an eye opener and did wade off a bit of sleep that was still lingering on my to nervous system.

While cost cutting is the "IN" thing, McDonalds belongs to the hospitality industry where going an extra mile for customer service is often the norm. Whatever happened to customer focus at McDonalds?

Next, the number of tissues provided to us was also exactly THREE. So, I guess the new "rule" at McDonalds is 2 sachets of ketchup and 1 tissue per meal. Did they forget the kids (that make up a substantial percentage) who need atleast 3-4 tissues? Or do they want us all to start licking our fingers clean?

No wait - McDonalds probably wants us to carry our own ketchup and tissues from now. Right there - so, if you are planning to head to the nearest McDonalds, dont forget these two essentials. Infact, I will start keeping these in my car as well. I do use "Drive-in" a lot you see ;)

Please share among other regular McDonalds customers as well for a social cause.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Nissan Sunny Automatic price to start at Rs 8.2 lac

Nissan India is all set to launch the automatic version of the Sunny sedan in India. The Nissan Sunny Automatic will be sold in two trim levels of XL and XV with prices being
1. Nissan Sunny Automatic XL : Rs 8.2 lac, ex-showroom Delhi
2. Nissan Sunny Automatic XV: Rs 9.1 lac, ex-showroom Delhi

Note that these are approximate prices and may vary by 5-10%

The Nissan Sunny Automatic makes use of the same X-tronic transmission as found in the Renault Scala. The modern X-tronic transmission helps keep fuel efficiency in check and in fact, the Sunny A/T ends up delivering an economy of 17.97kmpl as per ARAI!

The biggest USP of the Sunny AT will be the pricing - as compared to the Scala, the Sunny A/T will be cheaper and hence probably a better alternative to the likes automatic versions of the Honda City, Skoda Rapia and VW Vento!

Skoda Rapid AT starts from Rs 8.7 lac
Honda City AT starts from Rs 9.2 lac

Friday, October 26, 2012

Honda CB500, CBR500, CB500X details : coming to India

Just over two weeks from today, on the 13th November 2012, Honda will be showcasing three new 500cc models at the EICMA show in Milan. These are the
1. Honda CB500 : Naked version, looks like the grown up CBR250
2. Honda CBR500 : Sports bike version
3. Honda CB500X : touring version, looks like a scaled down NC700S.

Now, all the three bikes share the same platform and the same engines though they will be tuned and geared differently for different purposes. Likewise, the CB500X might appeal to the growing segment of tourers in India. The engine specs of the bikes are
1. Capacity - 470cc
2. Power - 45-50Bhp
3. Gears - 6
4. Top speed - 180 - 200km/h (depending on model)
5. Fuel economy - 20-25 (city) and 28-30 (highway)

Growing markets like India sure have a demand for such affordable big bikes. The CBR250R for example has been doing good business for Honda here but again, we dont know if this new 500cc family will be manufactured in India, or assembled, or imported as CBU. We only hope HMSI goes the right away and looks at either manufacturing or assembling these in 2013 - these will be made in Thailand and hence can be imported as CKD kits into India via the FTA. Prices hence could start at around the Rs 4 lac mark, giving other affordable big bikes a run for their money.

Features expected on these new bikes
1. Telescopic forks (no USD)
2. Single front disc (no double)
3. ABS
4. Digital console

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090, 1090R, 1090RR details

MV Agusta has just let out details on the 2013 line up of Brutale - the 1090, 1090R and 1090RR. Before I let out the press release, here is what you need to know
  1. Two power options will be offered.
  2. The 2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR will ofcourse be the most powerful
  3. As expected, daytime running lights added
  4. New alloy wheels are roughly 1.5 kg lighter
  5. The seat has been redesigned, as well as the front fender. 
  6. Power of the normal version is 144, of the 1090RR is 158! 

Here is the official press release, thanks to

  • The most celebrated four-cylinder naked has been redesigned with increased charm, components and quality of finish.
  • Three Brutale variants with three distinct characters. The Brutale 4 cylinder 2013 range is based on three new models: Brutale 1090, Brutale 1090 R and Brutale 1090 RR.


  • In detail, the main features of MV Agusta Brutale are:
  • In-line four cylinder engine with two configurations of maximum power
  • Traction control adjustable on 8 levels
  • Modular frame with tubular steel trellis section and aluminum plates offering a high torsional stiffness
  • Single-sided swing arm with adjustable absorber
  • 50 mm diameter inverted forks
  • Brakes with radial front calipers


Form and function: following these inspirational principles Brutale continues to fascinate and has evolved in many details. Having immediate impact are the lighting elements, day running lights, arranged symmetrically on either side of the dashboard cover: capable of enhancing the whole frontal section, also making the motorcycle more visible and therefore safe during day and night. Another ray of light comes from the four-cylinder engine, now silver, a color that emphasizes its compactness and accurate implementation of all its elements. The same chromatic range characterizes the new wheels, a unique design in the motorcycle industry: the multiple spokes are split and give rise to a fascinating design and the same time efficient, considering the weight of a pair of wheels has been decreased by about 1.500 grams compared to those fitted on previous models. The two new double exhaust silencers, a key element of the design, have become even more racing thanks to tapered ends, with a decisive diagonal cut reminiscent of American dragsters. The surface finish enhances its compact size; the new aluminum plate that prevents contact with the pipes has been redefined.

Updated features also for the new tail light, now with latest technology contour illumination, and rear view mirrors having a revised design for the Brutale 1090. On Brutale 1090 R and Brutale 1090 RR the indicators are integrated within the mirrors, benefitting look and dimensions; on these same models, the rear indicators use LEDs. The license plate holder is now metal, lighter and essential, and therefore able to further enhance the design of the compact, unique tail. On Brutale 1090 the new single piece seat benefits from new curves, improved ergonomics and a higher level of finish. Lastly, the front fender has also been redesigned with ample openings to reduce weight.


The inline four-cylinder architecture of the MV Agusta is part of history and this engine is found on the complete Brutale range. With a displacement of 1078 cc, it employ’s a bore and stroke of 79mm and 55 mm. Unique to the motorcycle industry is the double overhead camshaft with four valves per cylinder which are arranged in a radial pattern. The engine employs both water and oil cooling with separate radiators. Two engine configurations are offered, they are characterized by different values of maximum power and torque: Brutale 1090 and Brutale 1090 R reach 144 hp (106 kW) at 10,300 rev / min and 112 Nm (11.4 kgm) of torque; Brutale 1090 RR reaches the impressive power of 158 hp (116.5 kW) at 11,900 rev / min and 100 Nm (10.2 kgm) of torque at 10,100 rev / min. The cassette style removable gearbox is a six speed, constant mesh, another touch that makes MV Agusta exclusive. The multi-plate clutch in runs in an oil bath and on the Brutale 1090 RR it employs race track derived slipper clutch unit.


The composite frame of the Brutale is composed of the high strength tubular ALS steel front section coupled to the single sided swingarm by two aluminum plates. This configuration provides the best balance between efficiency and weight, as well as a characteristic of every MV Agusta. Size and dimensions remain the same: wheelbase of 1438 mm Brutale 1090 RR (1430mm on Brutale 1090 and Brutale 1090 R), trail of 103.5 mm.


Brutal continues to be the benchmark for handling thanks to the continually refined and improved suspension. The 50 mm diameter front forks are fully adjustable by means of special external adjusters: compression on one leg, rebound on the other and spring preload on both legs. The new axle carrier allows quick release of the front wheel: a touch of functionality typically found only on race bikes. The shock is completely tunable with some distinctions depending on the version: on the Brutale 1090 and Brutale 1090 R it is possible to adjust the rebound and spring preload; Brutale 1090 RR offers a wider range of adjustment, in addition to the spring preload and rebound damping it is also possible to vary the low and high speed hydraulic compression damping.


The braking system of every Brutale employs components of the highest quality: two front discs 310 mm in diameter for Brutale 1090 and Brutale 1090 R, 320 mm discs are used on the and Brutale 1090 RR, floating, with steel braking disks and an aluminum disk carrier. The rear disc is also made of steel with a diameter of 210 mm. Calipers are four-piston front and rear; Brutale 1090 RR employs Brembo monobloc front calipers for maximum braking efficiency and weight reduction.

Colors and pricing

The new Brutale range is offered in 3 color combinations for each model with pricing starting at 12.990€*.

Brutale 1090:

- Matt Black – Matt pearl white – Matt metallic grey

Brutale 1090 R:

- Metallic black – Pastel red – Silver

Brutale RR:
- Pastel red/Silver – Metallic gold/Pearl white – Metallic blue/Pearl white

*Every country could have a price variation due to local import duties and taxes.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why you should keep an eye on trucks around you!

While casually surfing through a few videos on youtube,  I happened to come across this interesting video. It goes to show why we should always keep an eye on fast moving commercial vehicles on Indian roads, most of which are not maintained well by their owners. For example, rising rubber costs have shot up the tyre prices and hence we usually dont see brand new tyres on trucks nowadays. Needless to say, the probability of tyres giving way due to speeds, heat build up and load is high now.
Have a look at this video then - the Corolla guy is casually driving in this lane when the left front tyre of the truck blows out - what happens later should left to the video.
So, the next time you are out on the road, specially on highways, keep this video in mind